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Political power in the US is based on the Constitution, which establishes a federal republic with a presidential system.

The federal government is divided into three branches: the executive, headed by the president; the legislative, composed of the Congress (Senate and House of Representatives); and the judicial, consisting of the Supreme Court and other courts.

United States Congress meets at the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C.

The U.S. Capitol
The U.S. Capitol

The legislative branch is responsible for making the country’s laws, as well as checking and balancing the other branches of government.

The legislative branch consists of two chambers: the House of Representatives and the Senate, which together form the United States Congress.

Both chambers of Congress must pass a bill by majority vote before it can be sent to the President for approval or veto.

If the President vetoes a bill, Congress can override it by a two-thirds vote in each chamber.

The Congress also publishes a resume of congressional activity, which is a summary of the legislative work done by each session of Congress.

The resume of congressional activity includes information such as the number of bills introduced, passed, vetoed, or enacted; the number of roll call votes, quorum calls, and filibusters; the number of days and hours in session; the attendance and party breakdown of members; etc. 

The resume of congressional activity is issued at the end of each session and is also published monthly in the Congressional Record.

Congress also has the authority to:

  • Declare war
  • Regulate commerce
  • Raise taxes
  • Borrow money
  • Coin money
  • Provide for the common defense and general welfare of the nation

Current leaders of the Congress:

  • Speaker of the House: Mike Johnson (R-LA-04)
  • House Majority Leader: Steve Scalise (R-LA-01)
  • House Minority Leader: Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY-08)
  • Senate Majority Leader: Chuck Schumer (D-NY)
  • Senate Minority Leader: Mitch McConnell (R-KY)


The Congress of the United States is the legislative branch of the federal government, composed of two chambers:

  • The Senate
  • House of Representatives

The Congress is responsible for making laws, declaring war, raising and providing public money and overseeing its proper expenditure, impeaching and trying federal officers, approving presidential appointments, and ratifying treaties with foreign governments.

To amplify information:

The Legislative Branch

How are members of Congress elected?